One factor driving the growth of IoT systems in industrial environments worldwide is the development of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and other sensor technologies. Although radio frequency identification (RFID) technology has been around for decades, it has evolved into new forms in recent years due to the advent of the Industrial Internet of Things and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. At its core, RFID has found new application opportunities in the IoT by helping to track inventory, improve efficiency and enhance services across a range of industries. However, as manufacturers increasingly utilise RFID in their IoT operations, how will these systems work together? And, what input can RFID provide in the IoT?
What is RFID and how does it work? Essentially, RFID is the use of radio waves to transmit digital data. RFID tags are small tracking systems that send and receive information via antennas and microchips. Tags allow users to automatically identify and track inventory and other assets. They can be battery-powered or passive, but in industrial environments they tend to be passive. This means that they have no power source and are instead powered by electromagnetic energy transmitted by the RFID reader. Working between the tag and the reader is the RFID antenna. the RFID antenna is usually integrated with the RFID reader, providing the energy for the tag and sharing data between the two components. the RFID reader is effectively the brain of the whole system. The reader receives the radio signals generated by the tag and converts them into digital information, which is then sent to a cloud platform for further processing.2
What is the purpose of RFID? RFID was originally developed during the Second World War to identify friendly aircraft. Since then it has come a long way and is now widely used. In an industrial environment, the purpose of RFID systems is usually to monitor and track different assets. For example, RFID tags can be attached to goods in a warehouse, enabling employees to automatically take an inventory via handheld readers and send the data to the company’s database. In addition to inventory management and asset tracking, RFID technology can be used for:
- Personnel tracking
- Prohibited area control
- Identity tagging
- Supply chain management
- Anti-counterfeiting (e.g. in the pharmaceutical industry or cigarette distribution)
Industrial IoT: a hotspot for RFID applications The industrial sector is a hotbed of supply chain problems. Major logistical inefficiencies can often be traced back to a manufacturer’s lack of adequate knowledge of the location of their sensitive goods and their condition. together, RFID and the Industrial Internet of Things provide real-time access to such vital data and eliminate the root cause of many of these problems. Through a network of RFID tags linked to products, warehouse shelves and vehicles, IoT software is able to track the condition of sensitive goods. The IoT cloud platform provides storage and analysis capabilities for all data generated by RFID and sensor technologies, which the IoT platform then runs through analytical algorithms to visualise the results. Depending on the platform’s parameters, these results can be represented through dashboards, reports, real-time product location maps, etc. In addition, industrial IoT solutions often use web or mobile applications to simplify communication with users; for example, if the temperature in a warehouse approaches a critical threshold, these applications will immediately alert employees to the problem.
RFID radio frequency tags are also known as electronic tags, electronic tags as data carriers that can play a role in identification, tracking and information collection. RFID radio frequency tags can be classified by different types, with a wide range of product forms and covering a wide range of applications.
Common RFID radio frequency electronic tag classification
1. According to the different ways of power supply, can be divided into active rfid tags and passive rfid tags.
Active electronic tag is also known as active RFID electronic tag, usually support long-distance identification, active electronic tag is equipped with batteries, passive radio frequency tag without internal battery, using frequency hopping working mode, with anti-jamming ability, can be customized to read and write standard data, in the special application system efficiency more quickly, read distance up to 10 meters or more, can read and write multiple tags at the same time, memory can be repeatedly erased More than 100000 times. Semi-passive electronic tag partly rely on battery work.
2. According to the different working mode, can be divided into active, semi-active and passive.
Active RFID tags are active electronic tags, semi-active RFID tags are semi-passive electronic tags, passive RFID tags are passive electronic tags.
3. According to the different read-write mode, can be divided into read-only and can read-write type.
Read-only tag internal only read-only memory (ROM) and random memory (RAM) compared to the read-write tag internal memory and buffer memory, inactive programmable memory. Read-write type can realize the erasure of the original data and the re-writing of the data.
4. According to the different working frequency, can be divided into low frequency, high frequency, ultra-high frequency and microwave electronic tags.
Low frequency is generally below 135K Hz, recognition distance is close, more shaped package; high-frequency typical working frequency is 13.56MHz, UHF and microwave tag working frequency is: 433MHz, 900MHz, 2.45GHz, 5.8GHz, reading distance up to 10m above, commonly used in logistics, manufacturing, airline baggage processing, mail, ETC It is an indispensable part of the Internet of Things nowadays.
5. According to the different packaging materials, can be divided into paper, plastic, ceramic, PCB electronic tags.
It can also be simply divided into flexible self-adhesive RFID tags and rigid RFID tags. Flexible self-adhesive RFID tags are more common, more common in high frequency and ultra-high frequency, mainly used for product anti-counterfeiting, tracking, traceability, item identification and many other application scenarios.
6. Depending on the shape of the package, it can be divided into film adhesive, card, column, buckle, implantable and other electronic tags.
RFID tags for different purposes present a variety of packaging forms, and therefore in the antenna manufacturing, bump formation, chip bonding interconnection and other packaging process is also diverse. Can also be divided into shaped class, tag class and card class.
7. According to the different application scenarios, can be divided into RFID retail tags, RFID medical tags, RFID anti-theft tags, RFID storage tags, RFID archive tags, RFID asset tags, RFID book tags, RFID anti-metal tags, RFID clothing tags, RFID washing labels, etc..
RFID tags, readers, antennas and applications are directly linked to the corresponding management information system. Each item can be accurately tracked and this comprehensive information management system can bring many benefits to customers, including real-time data collection, secure data access channels and access to all product information.
RFID tags are used in a wide range of applications. Areas of application include
1. Commodity anti-counterfeiting: through scanning, detailed logistics records are generated.
2. production line management: RFID electronic tags can easily and accurately record process information and process operation information on the production line, record the quantity of workers’ work, time, operation and quality inspection results, which can fully realize the traceability of production.
3. Warehouse management: RFID electronic tags can be affixed to goods, read-write by the read-write on the forklift and the read-write in the corresponding position in the warehouse, which can understand the location and storage of goods in real time and improve the efficiency of warehousing.
4. Commodity traceability management: effective management of procurement, sales and warehousing. Products are embedded with RFID electronic tags during the production process, containing a unique product number. Manufacturers can use the identifier to monitor the flow of products, and wholesalers and retailers can use the reader provided by the manufacturer to identify the legality of the products.
5. Item theft management: RFID electronic tags can be attached or embedded into the packaging of items, special shelf scanners scan goods in real time to obtain real-time inventory records, if goods are removed from the shelves, the system will verify whether this action is legal. If goods are removed illegally, the system will alert the police.
6. Book lending and return management: RFID electronic tags are attached to books to automate and make efficient the collection of book data and improve the efficiency of book collection, management, lending and return and inventory.
7. Other such as logistics, car theft prevention, air parcel management, etc.
Chip shortage, RFID packaging plants will face industry reshuffle
The adverse global chip shortage, coupled with the impact of complex international formats, is having a significant impact on Chinese companies. RFID tag chip suppliers are experiencing varying degrees of delivery delays, and such delays will also lead to delays in some deployments associated with the RFID industry chain, a challenge that could last until 2022.
At present, small-scale packaging plants have been unable to take orders due to the lack of chips, resulting in a lack of start-ups, and even some large-scale packaging plants have begun to successively appear unable to take orders and start-ups. Some industry insiders pointed out that if the lack of core state continues for a long time, there are bound to be many small and medium-sized RFID packaging plant due to unbearable capital flow and bankruptcy out of business. However, there are some company can survive in this battle, china uhf rfid tags manufacturers SEIKO RFID is a Chinese RFID market leader in designing and manufacturing of a wide variety of RFID inlay and tags with more than 10 years industrial experience, has stable supply chain and cash flow, attract strategic investment, turnove grow up 30% from the 2021.
RFID tag application ushered in a twist, the contradiction between supply and demand will further intensify
Adish Louitel, an industry analyst at global technology intelligence firm ABI Research, has said that continued disruptions in supply chain resources, including port congestion, shipping delays, and warehouse labor shortages, will further highlight the need for real-time traceability. By providing automated, granular visibility to identify inefficiencies, RFID can enable companies to gain a comprehensive view of their ongoing processes, including exactly when and where any lags may occur, allowing executives to take a more proactive approach to finding solutions and avoiding disruptions.
2022 will be a turning point year for RFID tags in many applications, and uncertainties will pose some challenges in the short term in the era of epidemics such as chip shortages, with RFID tag supply and demand conflicts further intensifying.
RFID tag application market continues to grow, RFID technology accelerates popularity
RFID tags will accelerate in popularity due to consumer demand, the complexity of distribution channels, and the ability to analyze large amounts of data with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and digital twin solutions. The use of passive UHF RFID tags will also continue to grow in the manufacturing, logistics, healthcare and aviation sectors.
Retail: Rapid fulfillment is one of the most unique needs facing the retail market. Many retailers are now introducing omnichannel sales programmes such as ‘buy online, pick up in-store’, ‘buy online, return in-store’ and kerbside pick up, and these sales models require highly accurate inventory information. With the help of RFID tags, each inventory operator can quickly report accurate stock status, streamlining the process and enabling fast execution. More and more retailers are relying on RFID tags to improve their inventory efficiency and make their in-store inventory management processes future-proof.
In addition, automated inventory management and point-of-sale technology is needed for unmanned shops, such as smart convenience stores in Japan, which are expected to require 100 billion RFID tags per year by 2025.
Manufacturing: Supply chain visibility has been extended to original manufacturers as more and more RFID tags are applied to products in the manufacturing sector. Some analysts say that the process of RFID tagging products is moving upstream, being applied more at the point of manufacture and even further up the source to make it easier to see what is being done. Some brands and manufacturers are already using RFID tags to provide authentication and tracking to verify the origin of products and the materials used in their manufacture. This traceability not only tracks the condition of the manufacturing and logistics process, but also the sustainability of the materials, even including the threads used in garments, for example.
Logistics: By applying RFID tags to the transport and storage of goods, logistics providers can manage increasingly complex supply chains. RFID tags can be attached not only to products, but also to totes, boxes, pallets and containers, so that logistics companies can respond to orders and deliver products more efficiently, thus proving the authenticity of a particular product and the good condition of the shipment. “This is very popular when shipping high-value items or high-volume B2B orders to ensure product integrity.” Louis Teller explains, “This increases customer satisfaction.” In addition to this, demand for RFID tags is growing in the medical, pharmaceutical and aviation sectors. Hospitals are using RFID tags to manage medications and other equipment.
Overall, supply chain shortages caused by external factors such as epidemics have led to a new demand for flexibility and transparency across a wide range of industries. At the same time, supply chain shortages in the era of the epidemic are driving some technology development efforts and exceeding previous expectations that